How a Cork father became hooked on his electric vehicle, after just one test drive

How A Cork Father Became Hooked On His Electric Vehicle, After Just One Test Drive
Cian O'Donoghue with Conor and Kate at their home in Glanmire, Cork. Photos: Clare Keogh
sponsored by
Share this article

“I don’t change my car very often, so when it came time to get a new one, I thought it was time to go greener.” His environmental conscience may have prompted him to consider switching to an electric vehicle (EV) when it came to changing the family car last year, but one quick test drive later and Cian O’Donoghue was sold.

The Cork-based father of three, who works for PepsiCo, says his story is clearly mirrored by the other thousands of people choosing to purchase an EV every month.


“It’s definitely gone more mainstream, there are so many of them on the road now whereas before they used to stand out,” O’Donoghue says. “The overall percentage might still be on the low side, but they account for more and more new cars being sold now.” He’s not wrong - electric vehicles accounted for almost one in five of new cars registered in 2023 with continued growth to date in 2024.

With young children to ferry around from school to extracurricular activities and home again, O’Donoghue says he began to realise that an EV might better suit their needs.

When it came to changing their car, an EV was the perfect choice for Cian and the family

“I had the same diesel car for 12 years - it was my trusty steed, and I drove it everywhere. But my commute is relatively short, and the car is very busy on evenings and weekends for a lot of short journeys. I really thought that an electric car would suit the profile of what we do most of the time. Not only would it be more environmentally friendly for the type of driving that I do, it is better suited to the type of driving I do overall.


In relation to his own EV, O’Donoghue says, “They are quite different and modern looking but the second I sat in it, I absolutely loved it,”. “It was such a smooth drive, so comfortable to sit in, and so modern. I went from being interested to being completely hooked, over the course of a test drive. The green angle was what inspired me, but as a driver’s car, it is an absolutely fantastic car to drive.”

Cian O'Donoghue says he would not switch back to a petrol or diesel car, having driven an EV

O’Donoghue points out that earlier EV models were more basic in terms of their design. “They have come on in leaps and bounds in terms of style. There is no compromise on comfort or style – I bought it for the same reasons you’d buy any nice car.”

And while he previously spent about €40 per week on diesel, now he spends just over a third of that keeping his car fully charged via his at-home charger.


“It is brilliant because I have it programmed to charge the car when the electricity is cheapest during the night,” he says. This means he spends approximately €2 each night charging it. “Mile for mile it is way cheaper, and if you are smart about it, it can cost a fraction of what your equivalent outgoings would be on petrol or diesel.”

Ireland’s charging network is still improving, but with the at-home charger, O’Donoghue says range anxiety is not an issue (his EV does over 400km when fully charged) and he is confident about doing long drives, regularly hitting the road to Clare, Dublin and Wexford.

Charging at home is easy and fast, Cian O'Donoghue says

“The furthest I have taken it is from Cork to Rosslare. We could drive straight there without stopping and the hotel had charging points, so we just charged it overnight and then drove home.”


With such a long range, O’Donoghue says he rarely has to charge the car during a journey. “But even if you do have to charge it on the way to somewhere, by the time you plug it in and go get a cup of coffee and come back to it, it’s nearly half an hour and that’s plenty,” he says. “A return trip to Dublin is no problem, just a brief charge while there. There is a small bit of forward planning with longer journeys, but it’s less than you think before you buy it and get used to it.”

With lower maintenance and servicing costs on average, O’Donoghue believes that the inherent “simplicity” of EVs is beginning to attract more and more drivers. “There is so much less that can go wrong with these cars,” he says. “There is also the ease of driving it because it’s such an easy car.”

He firmly believes it is ideally suited to a busy family such as his. “It has morphed from being ‘my’ car to being the car that leaves the driveway first. Even if my wife is just popping in to do the weekly shop, it’s invariably the preferred car for any journey we have to make.”

O’Donoghue notes that his driving habits have now completely changed. “I could see how my driving style affected my battery consumption, and it definitely prompted me to drive more conservatively, as a small decrease in speed resulted in a massive improvement in efficiency.”


One year on, O’Donoghue has joined the ranks of EV converts. Friends with qualms about their reliability were put straight, he adds. “Friends have asked me about stories in the media regarding queues at service stations for fast charging points. That puts people off, but the reality of driving one is so far from that. You are not charging it every five minutes as there is a great range on these cars now.”

The environmental aspect of going electric may have been the initial motivation, but now it’s just the icing on the cake, he adds.

“It is snowballing, and it is not just the green agenda that is driving this, they are just becoming more mainstream because people like me are telling their friends about their positive experiences. I would never drive a petrol or diesel car again.”

Zero Emissions Vehicles Ireland (ZEVI) has been established to support consumers, the public sector and businesses to continue to make the switch to zero emissions vehicles.

Current Government supports available for vehicles include a purchase grant for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) of €3,500, a home charger scheme, an apartment charger scheme, benefit-in-kind tax relief for battery electric vehicles, VRT relief of up to €5,000 for BEVs and a low rate of annual motor tax.

The Government is also working on improving EV infrastructure with several support schemes underway. These include the Shared Island Sports Scheme and the Just Transition Fund Scheme, with a further scheme to accelerate the roll-out of infrastructure for motorway charging to be launched this month.

Additionally, a plan for developing local area EV charging networks will be launched next month, and it is anticipated that the first phase of projects will commence roll out later this year.

By 2025 it is expected that there will be between 3,200 and 6,200 charge points nationally – the difference in the number will depend both on demand and the type of charger installed. For 2030, this number is expected to increase by 300%.

Visit to learn more about electric vehicles and the grants available.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by